Construction of White Male Hegemony in Coetzee's Waiting for Barbarians and Disgrace

  • Jihad Jaafar Waham Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Languages and Communication, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
  • Wan Mazlini Othman Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Languages and Communication, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
  • Imad Mohammad Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Languages and Communication, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)
Keywords: hegemony, masculinity, construction, coetzee


 This article will investigate how Coetzee's white male characters confront their pasts that revolve around abuse of power in both familial relations and the community. For a long time, Coetzee has been in a difficult position regarding his literary identity. He is both criticized and praised by many people about his writings. In this article, I will be investigating how he draws both praise and criticism in the way he constructs white male identity. It is possible that many of these critics do not agree with the writer’s construction of both African and white identities. Coetzee was required to betray his ancestors and oppose the white male dominance. I will determine whether he chose either of them. It is a known fact that none of Coetzee novels were banned by the Apartheid regime. The most probable reason that is often cited by many of his critics is that he was politically correct. An investigation of his representation of white hegemony might put to rest this criticism. Furthermore, it is important to understand his stand against white supremacy at a time many of his colleagues from the civil rights movement were writing about equality and human rights. I will investigate how the characters of his novels feel influenced by those who exercise power in the society. Most importantly, I will examine how masculine identities in the novels fit in the wider society and how they respond to changing power structures because they influence their behavior. My objective is to investigate whether Coetzee ascribed to the patriarchal Boer societal values that marginalized both women and servants into silence. Since masculine discourse is recurring in his other works, it is both an ideological and political discourse representing oppression and colonialism.


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How to Cite
Waham, J. J., Othman, W. M. and Mohammad, I. (2019) “Construction of White Male Hegemony in Coetzee’s Waiting for Barbarians and Disgrace”, Malaysian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (MJSSH), 4(3), pp. 8 - 13. doi: 10.47405/mjssh.v4i3.198.